formally to my notice the subject of your conversations with me in the middle of September and later with the President and Mr.
Lovett on the question of convening a conference on the Japanese peace settlement, I appreciate this further indication of your views on the matter.
In reference to your statement that on two separate occasions the United States Government has given assurances that Australia will be regarded as a party principal in connection with all matters relating to the Japanese peace settlement, I assume you are referring to the note presented to the Australian Government on December 13, 1946, in which it was stated that the United States hopes and desires that in the formulation of the peace treaty with Japan, Australia will participate on a full and equal basis and that negotiations and drafting will take place outside the Far Eastern Commission. The note further stated that the United States Government expects that the Soviet Government will insist upon a much more limited group for these negotiations and that it is of course impossible to predict what final arrangements will be made for negotiating the Japanese treaty. You will realize from the developments which have taken place why it was believed to be impossible to predict the final form which any negotiations would take. I am not aware of any further specific assurances on this matter.
With a view to the early convening of a conference on the Japanese settlement, on July 11, 1947, this Government informally approached the eleven governments which are members of the Far Eastern Commission concerning the holding of preliminary talks on the Japanese settlement on August 19. Certain developments, however, have made necessary the temporary postponement of any conference on the Japanese peace settlement. As you are aware, favorable replies to the proposals of the United States have been received from eight of the governments on the Far Eastern Commission. The Soviet Government, however, has insisted on two separate occasions in aides-memoire of July 22 and August 29 that the question of convening of a conference for drawing up a peace treaty for Japan should be provisionally examined by the Council of Foreign Ministers composed of the representatives of the governments of the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain and the United States. Furthermore, the Chinese Foreign Minister in an aide-memoire of October 9, 1947, stated that the Chinese Government believes that every effort consistent with the primary purpose of promoting the peace conference regarding Japan should be made to secure the participation and cooperation of all the major powers in the conference. The Chinese Government considers that for the drafting of the peace treaty regarding Japan, the existing organization of the Far Eastern Commission and its procedure may be utilized or a conference with similar organization and procedure should be called.
While I wish it were possible to fix the time and place of a conference on the Japanese peace settlement, it appears clear from the position of both the Soviet Government and the Chinese Government that they would not be prepared to attend a conference at this time composed of the eleven states members of the Far Eastern Commission whose decisions would be made by a voting procedure of a two-thirds majority. I am sure you will agree with me that it would be inadvisable to call a conference which both of these governments would not attend. I should like to take this opportunity to assure you that in view of these circumstances my Government is giving serious consideration to the next step which it should take.
Your statement that the Korean situation is an essential and integral part of the Japanese peace settlement and that if it had been found impossible to carry out the Moscow Agreement on Korea of December, 1945, the matter should be referred, in the first instance at least, to the states directly concerned in the war with Japan instead of the General Assembly of the United Nations has been noted. As you are aware the actions of this Government in connection with the situation in Korea have all been taken in light of its obligations under the Moscow Agreement, to which the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, the U.S.S.R.
and China are parties. After the Joint U.S.-U.S.S.R. Commission on Korea, set up by the terms of the Moscow Agreement, had reached a stalemate, the United States Government proposed that the four powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement have discussions concerning how the purposes of that agreement might speedily be accomplished. The Soviet Government refused to participate in such discussions. It was thus only after every reasonable effort had been made, through bilateral negotiations under the Moscow Agreement, and after it had proved impossible to have discussions with the powers adhering to the Moscow Agreement, that the United States Government presented the problem of Korean independence for the consideration of the General Assembly. Inasmuch as Korea does not fall within the terms of reference of the Far Eastern Commission there would appear to be no recognized international body other than the General Assembly to which the Korean problem could be presented.
In view of the historic development of international agreements regarding Korea at Cairo, Potsdam and Moscow, the question of the re-establishment of Korean independence as distinct from the separation of Korea from Japan has been considered apart from the Japanese peace settlement and in the opinion of the United States Government there is no necessity of altering this procedure.
Consideration of the Korean situation, as it is today, in connection with the Japanese peace settlement could only confuse matters and further delay the establishment of an independent, united Korea. The legitimate interests of Australia in the Korean situation will not, it is believed, be prejudiced through consideration of this problem by the General Assembly, in which consideration Australia will be able to play an important role.